Professional Skills Communications and Events Specialist profile: Sarah Howard

Sarah HowardWho are you and what do you do?

I am a recent graduate of the University of Waterloo, having just completed my MA in Political Science. My Master’s research focused on policy change initiated by coroner’s inquests following deaths in custody. I am excited to be remaining part of the UWaterloo community as the Professional Skills Communications and Events Specialist in Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs. Within this role I will be conducting research, coordinating communication, and planning events to support GRADventure programs and initiatives.

Describe the professional development activities you took part in during your graduate degree (e.g. volunteering, professional skills workshops, student association, GSA).

I participated in a variety of workshops hosted by the Centre for Teaching Excellence (CTE), which supported my work as a Teaching Assistant by improving my skills in facilitating tutorials and providing written feedback. Within my department I volunteered to provide leadership for the political science graduate student conference committee, which organized a full day academic conference. I also served as an editor for the political science graduate student journal following the conference. Finally, as I believe it is important to be involved in the local community, I volunteered off campus with a local organization, Community Justice Initiatives (CJI), which uses restorative justice approaches to address conflict and crime.

Describe the value of these professional development experiences to the role of Professional Skills Communication and Events Specialist.

The workshops I participated in through the CTE enhanced my confidence in my teaching abilities, but also provided me with presentation experience that is valuable in many contexts. The presentation experience and feedback I received will be useful when providing promotional presentations for GRADventure programs. Working on event planning for the political science graduate student conference allowed me to gain valuable event management experience and provided me an opportunity to learn about successful marketing techniques, which I can apply when working on event planning and communication for GRADventure workshops. Finally, volunteering with CJI provided me the opportunity to work with a diverse team, advance leadership skills, and learn methods for conflict resolution, which are valuable skills for any work environment.

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